“Violence is a completely natural impulse”, according to Guillermo Arriaga’s last novel The Savage. Those who are familiar with Arriaga’s screenplays Amores Perros, 21 Gramm or Babel, know what this refers to. Now, Arriaga has published a Mexican epic, which tells the story of 17-year-old Juan Guillermo. Juan and his brother Carlos lead a life on the rooftops of Mexico City. Together, at the end of the 1960s, they build up a large drug business until his brother is murdered by radical Catholic youths. Priests and the Mexican police are in cahoots. The death of his brother drives his desperate parents to suicide. When his grandmother dies also, Juan is left all alone and swears to take revenge.
Arriaga’s dark, pugnacious and powerfully eloquent adventure novel is full of contrasts and paints a forceful and unsparing image of society. David Gaitan, the Mexican director and author, is staging this book for the very first time together with actors from Mexico and the Schauspiel Köln ensemble.